Why wouldn’t you take advantage of grocery delivery? The city's overcrowded and hectic supermarkets during rush hour can easily bring out the antisocial introvert in any New Yorker. On the list of things that put locals on edge, grocery shopping is on par with being anywhere near Times Square. But of course, you can’t live on Seamless forever—that's why we've reviewed the best grocery stores that deliver and other delivery services in the city. Some are free, some arrive in less than an hour, some have late-night delivery and some even offer alcohol delivery in NYC, but all of them will help reduce your daily stress level.
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Best ways to get your groceries delivered
Amazon is among the top 20 richest organizations in the world and it’s clear to see why: they get you with the subscriptions. To get access to Amazon Fresh you need to first sign up for Prime ($12.99/m), then add $14.99/m for Fresh, which is a whopping $335 a year! However, they do have huge warehouses with a wide variety of products, so if you’re willing to pay for it, you can have fuss-free simplicity at your fingertips. Meaning you can get the latest music releases and a pair of sunnies, while you’re picking out your groceries.
Fresh Direct has more or less become a household name in New York City over the 19 years it’s been around. Though Fresh Direct won't entice more frugral shoppers, its prices are comparable to the ones you'll see in brick-and-mortar NYC grocery stores. The in-house bakery and partnerships with local farms also mean that the offerings often win points for freshness. Membership is $129 for a year, which includes unlimited deliveries; otherwise, home deliveries within the five boroughs cost $5.99 with a minimum order of $30.
Unlike Fresh Direct or Amazon, Instacart sends out personal shoppers to fetch your items rather than delivering from a massive private inventory. This is a big plus for all the people who can’t live without specific brands. And if something is out of stock, you get an actual human suggesting substitutions. However, many NYC grocery stores already mark up their prices and you’re meant to tip your shopper, too. But if you can't function without your favorite brand of almond butter, the extra money for delivery is probably worth it to avoid those long, shuffling lines at your local market.
For anyone who has been trying to fill the Costco-size void left in after moving to the city, Google Express is here for you. You can order in bulk from stores in your area, including, yes, Costco, along with Fairway, Target, PetSmart and even the Chinese supermarket chain 99 Ranch Market. The minimum purchase required for free delivery varies from store to store, but usually tops out at $25 or $35. Unfortunately, it does not offer perishables like milk, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables, but if you’re trying to stockpile dry goods, pet food and a year’s worth of toilet paper, look no further.
If you haven’t heard of Foodkick, we’re betting you will have heard of delivery stalwarts Fresh Direct. Right? Well, Foodkick is the latest addition to their family. This shiny app allows for those last minute wants and needs. Forgotten an item on your usual shop? Foodkick can get it for you. Need another six-pack for your party? Sure thing. They even offer inspiration for your daily dinners. So long as you spend a minimum of $20, Foodkick will get your shop to you ASAP – even within the hour if you pay an extra $2. And you get 30 days free delivery when you place your first order.
Founded in 1989, Peapod is the OG NYC grocery delivery service. Since the company's owners also own Stop & Shop, Peapod is basically the Stop & Shop experience moved online. The delivery fee gets cheaper the larger your order ($6.95 for orders over $100), so it’s better to buy in big batches. Overall, Peapod wins for reliability and a thoughtful user experience. For instance, it keeps track of your purchases so you can easily fill your cart with your regular grocery order. You can even save a couple of bucks if you choose a larger delivery window a few days' ahead of time.
Jet is the projected winner for the thrifty New Yorker. Like Amazon, it has its own grocery warehouses from which it makes deliveries instead of using local supermarkets and stores. Unlike Amazon, there’s no equivalent of a pricey membership, just a delivery fee which disappears for orders over $35. But what’s cool about Jet for grocery (and non-grocery) shopping is its dedication to saving you money, which it goes about in an almost gamified way. If you buy certain products together, they cost less. If you opt to waive the free return, you get a discount. It feels like being an audience member on The Oprah Winfrey Show: You get a discount, and you get a discount, and you get a discount!
Though it's primarily used for restaurant delivery and takeout, Seamless also offers grocery delivery from markets, delis, bakeries and bodegas around the city. Handy labels reveal each store's delivery fee and order minimum, so it's easy to see which nearby option will be cheapest. Seamless tends to work with smaller vendors than some of the other services on this list, but that can actually work to your benefit. Since the order minimums are lower, it's a great option if you just need a quart of milk or six-pack of beer delivered.
Fancy something from Fairway but a little something else from Whole Foods? Get your Potmate on the case. These guys will zip around the city, picking up the products and brands you want, and will even aim to get them to you within 30 minutes if possible. And if you don't know what exactly you want, they have service for that too! Lazy shoppers should check out Postmates Fresh, the service’s curated selection of groceries. Delivery fees start at $1.99 or, for one $95.88 payment, you can have free unlimited delivery for the year. There's a free seven-day trial too, so you can cancel post-haste if you change your mind.
Max Delivery is possibly your best option when you need to prep dinner the night of a big dinner party and you just realized your kitchen is empty. That’s because it offers one-hour delivery with the delivery fee refunded if it doesn’t make it to your doorstep within the hour. Max’s prices compete with NYC supermarkets, and though it doesn’t have the largest selection on this list, you can still find some very appealing goodies in its Best of NY section from places like Murray’s Cheese and Balthazar Bakery. Plus, there’s no delivery fee for orders over $125, which is totally doable.